August 7, 2009

Jeff Purvis to visit Mountain Raceway Park

CARTERSVILLE, GA – National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame inductee and former NASCAR star Jeff Purvis of Clarksville, TN will be the special guest of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series when they visit Mountain Raceway Park in Maryville, TN on Saturday night, August 15 for Round 15 of the National Tour with a 50-lap $3,000-to-win race.

Purvis will meet and greet the Mountain Raceway Park race fans with a special autograph and photo session from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night, August 15. There will also be Jeff Purvis collectables available during the session. Purvis raced at the track several times during the 1980s when the track was known as Smoky Mountain Speedway.

During the 1980s, Purvis was one of dirt late model racing’s brightest stars winning the prestigious World 100 race at the famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, OH three times, along with two NDRA National Championships and the 1986 Southern All-Star Dirt Late Model National Championship.

Purvis turned to the asphalt racing surfaces in the 1990s, winning the All-American 400 at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway a record three times and a pair of ARCA Daytona International Speedway wins. Purvis also began a NASCAR career that yielded four wins on the Nationwide Tour.

In 1999, Purvis had a desire to return to dirt track racing and that began a working relationship and a long-lasting friendship with the Founder and Director of the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, Mike Vaughn. It was Vaughn who provided Purvis a car to race at the 1999 Hav-A-Tampa Dirt Late Model Series season opener in Brunswick, GA, his first dirt track race in ten years.

Purvis still had his NASCAR career going, but dirt track racing still brought Purvis national notoriety. In 2001 on the first ballot, Purvis was inducted into the National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame.

A life-threatening crash in 2002 during a NASCAR race at Nazareth, PA all but ended Purvis’ NASCAR career. After a three-year recovery from a broken neck, Purvis and Vaughn ended up together again with a new and innovative motorsports project.

GM Performance Parts had developed a new and affordable “Crate” engine for dirt late models that was built and sealed at the factory to prohibit any expensive modifications. Purvis and Vaughn liked the idea and Purvis encouraged Vaughn to start a new series in 2005 that has become the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series.

Purvis returned to dirt late model racing full-time in 2005 with the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series and finished sixth in the National point standings. Purvis was once a title contender in 2006, but another crash landed him in the hospital for a second time with a life-threatening neck fracture.

The difference between this crash and the 2002 crash were the difference between day and night, and brought an eye opening outlook on life for Purvis. He was by himself strapped in a race car in the 2002 crash. In 2006, he was traveling to a race at Talladega Short Track in the race team’s hauler with his family when it blew a front tire, crashed and burned to the ground.

While his family and crew members did not suffer life-threatening injuries, Purvis was injured while he was trying to pull his son Clay out of the bunk over the top of the cab during the crash. During his fight for life at Vanderbilt Hospital for the second time in his life, Purvis decided he needed to concentrate more on providing for his family.

After he was released from the hospital, Purvis returned home to Clarksville, TN to recover from his injuries and tend to his successful business, Queen City Metals. He has not raced since the 2006 highway accident.

“Jeff Purvis has always been my hero in racing, and it has been an honor to have him drive my race car and to compete in my series,” Vaughn said. “I know Jeff is looking forward to coming to Mountain Raceway Park on August 15 because he still has a lot of fans and friends in East Tennessee. A lot of the drivers in the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series today miss competing with Jeff because they were able to learn so much just being on the same track with him.”

The NeSmith Chevrolet DLMS National Tour will be making its second appearance of the 2009 season at Mountain Raceway Park. Derrick Rainey of Powder Springs, GA won the first race at MRP on July 18, an event that many in attendance said it was one the best races they had ever seen at the historic 4/10-mile clay oval with abundant two and three-wide racing.
For more information about Mountain Raceway Park call 865-856-8989, or visit the track web site at For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series, visit the series web site at

From an NESmith Press Release

NASCAR Keselowski's options dwindling

Brad Keselowski's options are dwindling, according to If he wants to race fulltime in 2010, his best option is for James Finch elevate the the No. 09 with support from Hendrick Motorsports.

Our View There could be worse scenarios. This pairing has already won once in 2009 at Talladega SuperSpeedway.

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Heluva Good! Dips at the Glen Lineup with Avg. Start / Fin

In a topsy turvey qualification session for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, Jimmie Johnson won the pole and Jeff Gordon was forced to settle for 31st; Tony Stewart is mid-pack in 13th and another traditionally strong road racer Robby Gordon is even further back in 22nd. The race is going to be characterized by comers and goers.

Kurt Busch posted the fastest time in Friday's practice and he backed that up with the second fastest lap in time trials, while a pair of strong road racers fills up row two. Denny Hamlin isn't the first name that comes to mind on the road courses, but he's never finished outside the top 10 at the Glen in three starts.

Marcos Ambrose simply hopes he can hold onto his spot in fourth after he crashed in practice at Infineon this June and went to the back in a backup car. Still, he climbed from dead last for the second consecutive road course race and finished third for the second consecutive time.


StartDriverAvg. FinAvg. StartAttempts
1Jimmie Johnson13.147.297
2Kurt Busch21.3811.258
3Denny Hamlin6.677.333
4Marcos Ambrose3.0043.001
5David Stremme21.0025.001
6Ryan Newman16.299.867
7Greg Biffle28.6715.176
8Kyle Busch12.509.504
9Boris Said21.7524.508
10Juan Montoya21.5021.502
11Casey Mears21.3318.676
12Kasey Kahne18.6013.805
13Tony Stewart5.705.5010
14Paul Menard26.4035.405
15Andy Lally

16Max Papis43.0042.001
17Patrick Carpentier21.0039.502
18A J Allmendinger11.0037.001
19Elliott Sadler20.0022.9010
20Brian Vickers22.6023.205
21Kevin Harvick11.259.508
22Robby Gordon10.6020.5010
23Martin Truex Jr13.0021.673
24Jamie McMurray16.8319.176
25David Reutimann33.0028.001
26Scott Speed

27Bobby Labonte18.4418.1316
28Mark Martin6.958.1119
29Reed Sorenson23.6731.333
30Jeff Burton21.0019.4715
31Jeff Gordon13.446.9416
32Dale Earnhardt Jr20.7812.679
33Carl Edwards10.2510.004
34John Andretti19.0019.339
35Joey Logano

36Sam Hornish Jr32.0034.001
37Ron Fellows25.2724.0911
38Clint Bowyer17.6712.333
39P J Jones24.5031.888
40David Ragan31.0018.002
41Dave Blaney31.1127.789
42Matt Kenseth16.2214.569
43Tony Ave31.0042.001
DNQJoe Nemechek21.8721.5315
DNQDavid Gilliland36.5028.002
DNQBrian Simo39.0042.502

Road Kill

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Yahoo! Qualification Story – Watkins Glen

For only the second time in the last five years, NASCAR got qualification in at Watkins Glen. We had a lot to say in this six-page .pdf, so check it out.

Johnson earns Watkins Glen pole

Jimmie Johnson will start on the pole for the second time at Watkins Glen International, but this time, he earned it on speed. He also started first in 2004 when qualification was rained out.

Our View Unfortunately, good track position did not work in his favor that day; he blew an engine and finished 40th.

Road Kill

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IRL considering Baltimore race in 2011

The Indy Racing League is in discussion with a local partnership to bring a street race to the Inner Harbor section of Baltimore, according to

Our View What started as a primarily oval series is increasing their emphasis on street and permanent road courses. Fantasy owners will want to make certain to keep their oval and road rosters separate.

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F1: Ecclestone expect to return to Montreal

Despite the fact that no agreement is signed, Bernie Ecclestone expects the Formula 1 Series to return to Montreal in 2010, according to Auto Racing Daily.

Our View With the US Grand Prix off the schedule as well, North American fans have not had anything to look forward to. Let's hope they can come to an agreement.

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NASCAR N'Wide: Bliss out of No. 1

Mike Bliss is out of the No. 1 James Finch ride, according to televised reports by Speed TV. Ryan Newman will run the car this week at Watkins Glen.

Our View Bliss has been one of the best Nationwide Regulars all season, but he's suffered a series of bad luck in the last few weeks. Team chemistry is a fragile thing.

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Ku Busch wins Watkins Glen practice 1

Kurt Busch posted the fastest single circuit in the first practice session for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen with a 124.362 mph lap.

Our View This is a bit of a surprise, but it shouldn't be. Busch always qualifies well at the Glen when time trials are run. He won the pole there in 2006, but slipped to 19th in the race.

Road Kill

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Said in for T Labonte

Road racing specialist Boris Said will take the wheel from Terry Labonte this week in the No. 08 John Carter entry.

Our View Labonte was listed as the driver of record so that his past champion's provisional would lock the team into the show in case qualification was rained out. Now that it's sunny at the track, they will put the more experienced Said in the ride. This sounds like some fast and loose interpretation of NASCAR's past champion's provisional rule.

Road Kill

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Bowyer crashes at Watkins Glen

Moments after Patrick Carpentier crashed in Watkins Glen, Clint Bowyer went into the pea gravel in the final combination of turns.

Our View The damage is probably not very great, but they are going to have to go over the car with a fine tooth comb to get all the gravel out of the nooks and crannies.

Road Kill

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Carpentier crashes at Watkins Glen

Minutes after a lengthy cleanup for Joe Nemechek's blown engine, Patrick Carpentier had his own trouble. He crashed the No. 55 and will roll out a backup car.

Our View At least Carpentier is already locked in the show and he will get two practices on Saturday. It's too soon to make a firm prediction about his chances during the race.

Road Kill

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Nemechek blows in Glen practice 1

Joe Nemechek blew an engine at the eight minute mark of the first practice session and will have to swap powerplants before qualification.

Our View This is a serious blow to his chances for making the show. Three cars will go home this afternoon after qualification is complete.

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NASCAR to meet with R Gordon, Stremme

NASCAR plans to meet with Robby Gordon and David Stremme at Watkins Glen International to make certain there are no lingering effects from their confrontation last week, according to @BobPockrass.

Our View Gordon has a lot more to lose this week than Stremme and as the more emotional of the two drivers, he is probably going to be the key. Don't look for anger to spill over this week.

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Road Kill

Each year when the road courses roll around on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule, hopeful owners trot out road ringers—specialists who spent the majority of their careers turning both left and right in sports cars or open wheel cars—and for a while, these drivers were great bargains for fantasy players.

Now, the question is: are these drivers still and good value?

And the answer is a qualified "maybe."

Some exceedingly good road racers have made their way into the regular ranks of NASCAR's elite with Juan Montoya and Marcos Ambrose getting stronger by the week on oval courses. They join the likes of Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon to give owners a small pool of drivers guaranteed to run up front, and with those racers dominating the top five along with some other solid but lesser considered drivers such as Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson capable of running in the top 10 each road race, the impact of the road ringers is minimized.

In the Watkins Glen media center on Friday, Ambrose made that same point and with back-to-back third-place finishes after starting dead last in his last two road course starts, he knows what he's talking about.

In fact, among the drivers entered this week, only Ron Fellows has earned a top-10 in Cup competition on the road courses in the last eight races. We italicize the word entered, because the No. 08 John Carter team this week intends to swap Boris Said for the officially entered Terry Labonte unless rain cancels qualification—in that case, they will use Labonte's past champion's provisional to quite frankly steal a position on the grid.

However, the qualified "maybe" means these road ringers might be a good value under the right circumstances. This June, Patrick Carpentier climbed into the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 55 and nearly broke into the top 10 with an 11th-place finish. Max Papis is attempting to make several oval races this year, but for the moment he also should be considered a ringer and he finished 12th in that same race.

In fact, if not for the frenetic nature of the closing laps of the Toyota / SaveMart 350k when a myriad of cautions turned the end of the race into a slugfest, both drivers were inside the top 10 late in the going. Double-file restarts shuffled the field considerably and these two racers lost a bit of ground at the end.

Top-15s can make the road ringers a good value because in most salary cap games they are cheap enough to stretch your budget. In check box games with a maximum number of allocations allowed for each driver, a top-15 can also make them an acceptable proposition in order to save an allocation for one of your marquee drivers in a future race.

But, if a top-15 is the best they can hope for, and if they miss the mark by a little bit, then you are staring at a top-20 result instead, which is far less attractive.
Moreover, only Carpentier is in equipment that is regularly run on the Cup schedule. Papis' No. 13 proved to be strong at Infineon, but is otherwise largely untested. Fellows will drive the No. 09 James Finch entry, which already has a victory under its belt on the wild card Talladega SuperSpeedway this year. These three drivers represent your best chance to score points this week, but the safe money says to pick only one.

Top-15s by road ringers, last five years

2005 Watkins GlenBoris Said3
2008 Watkins GlenRon Fellows4
2005 Watkins GlenScott Pruett4
2006 Watkins GlenScott Pruett6
2005 InfineonRon Fellows8
2007 InfineonBoris Said9
2006 InfineonBoris Said9
2005 InfineonBrian Simo10
2009 InfineonPatrick Carpentier11
2009 InfineonMax Papis12
2007 InfineonP.J. Jones12
2008 Watkins GlenRon Fellows13
2008 Watkins GlenBoris Said14
2007 InfineonRon Fellows15